A/N: so, decided that this is set after S2E1. Spoilers for She Knows. Quote (roughly paraphrased) from S1E2. Also, I was inspired by Phoenix 'reluctant to get out bed mini!mike' so I reciprocated with sleepy adult!mike reluctant to get up. But I shall try and fit in teen!mike too.
Also I know I need to update GUIHTD... I hope to do that soon.
Disclaimer: See chapter 1.
Harvey drops wearily onto Jessica's couch and flops. Actually flops, head hanging back with a drawn out sigh.
Jessica raises a bemused frown across her features at his sudden appearance.
"Please, Harvey, make yourself at home," she dead-pans from her desk.
Harvey raises his head and levels a stare at her. He straightens his body, readjusting his suit, before dropping his face into his hands. He can feel his fingers trembling against skin and curls them in to hide them.
He is also aware that he had just entered his superior's office without announcement or knocking. Maybe Mike was rubbing off on him.
"Okay, Harvey -" Jessica calmly tells him, a hint of concern flashing across her face. "The one and only time you came into my office without knocking first was when your father died. What's going on?"
Harvey doesn't answer at first. He'd once told Mike he didn't want to hear about his soap opera life, but here he was willingly wading into it.
And quite frankly? It was a tad overwhelming. Mike was suddenly now looking at him like he was the only one who could help him. The only one who could stop it. Harvey was... not reluctant to step in... just wary, which conflicted with the immediate and burning desire to do just that. To make things better. To stop it. To shield him from the reality of how easy it was to be burned. The latter in itself were quite a contradiction to the lawyer in him. He wasn't doing Mike any favors by protecting him from that, and yet there was still a part of the associate that was vulnerable and could wait just a bit longer. Or until Mike learned how to buffer himself from any irreversible damage.
And then there it was. When did he suddenly appoint himself that person, that buffer, the protector of this scenario?
"Harvey? Is the kid okay?" Jessica continues, voice slicing through his lost thoughts like a jolt.
"No," Harvey answered quickly and honestly.
"Where is he?"
"I left him asleep on my couch."
He drops his hands then and turns to look at her. Hands now down by his sides, he feels the shake even more. He's not sure what's more terrifying at this current moment in time – the idea that Mike might becoming emotionally attached to him or the come down of seeing how hysterical the kid had been when he'd arrived at the office earlier that morning. He hates hiding his hands in his pockets of suits because no matter what people say, pockets are not for hand holding, so he ends up fidgeting with them in his own lap instead.
Jessica takes one look at his face (which, after catching a glimpse of it in the reflection of the many glass walls on the way to her office, he can only presume looked mildly distraught) before there's a flash of alarm across her own. He's seen many looks on Jessica – angry, worried, concerned, indifferent – but never actually alarmed.
"Harvey," she murmurs, pushing out from her desk. He shook his head and waved her back before going back to study his fingers. "You really care about him, huh?"
"I worry about him," Harvey said with a shrug. "The stupid kid doesn't really have anyone to look out for him at the moment. So I worry. There's a difference."
"If you say so," Jessica's mouth twitches but he can still hear the own worry to it.
"I thought I was just picking out an associate, you know-" Harvey admits softly, thumbs rotating around each other in a rhythmic manner. Did he really think that when that someone had dropped a briefcase of pot on the floor in front of them? When that someone had already confessed that they hadn't even got a law degree and took tests for cash? "Another me. Someone to shape and learn. To develop."
"That's awfully nurturing of you."
He supposes it was.
"When you messed up, I didn't put that on you. I put that on me. Because it's my job."
"There's a fine line between mentoring and caring."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Harvey asks, head snapping up. "Are you saying I've overstepped boundaries?"
Jessica shakes her head.
"No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that sometimes being a mentor isn't confined to the office," Jessica smiles at him with reassurance. "Sometimes being a mentor is more than law books and court etiquette. It's about life and how to navigate it. Of all people, Harvey, you should get that," she reaches out and prods him with her pen, smirking at him
Harvey gives her a quick grin in return.
"I'm proud of you, Harvey."
Despite the fact that Harvey was now a senior partner and more than an equal to Jessica Pearson, he can't but help the way his heart swells in gratitude and warmth at the words from his former mentor. It was a reminder to give the kid, seemingly starved of affection, a bit more praise.
He covers up all of his stirred emotions by confessing something else instead.
"It's just a little bit overwhelming."
"Yes it is," she replies with a nod.
Current tense, not past. He smirks at her and she shrugs in response.
"I'm not sure I can be what he needs me to be," Harvey admits, a little bit worriedly.
"Which is?" Jessica answers with genuine interest.
"A father figure?" Harvey shrugs in confusion. He lifts his head fully this time now and searches Jessica's face, and the room, for answers. "I think? If today means anything, I mean."
"Which brings me to my earlier question of the day. What happened to the kid?"
"His father?" Jessica parrots back, nose crinkling in confusion. "I thought he was dead."
Harvey was aware that only a few months before, when Trevor had ousted Mike to Jessica, Mike had been forced to tell her the truth and in doing so had opened up to her and revealed how his parents had died.
"So did Mike."
Jessica raises her eyebrows in interest.
"He turned up at Mike's apartment. Very much alive."
Jessica's mouth drops open in genuine surprise.
"Mike's father is not dead?"
Harvey shakes his head.
"And Mike didn't know?"
"And then nothing," Harvey continues with confusion. "He became hysterical and then turned up here. The rest was history."
"No," Jessica said, shaking her head in clarification, and straightening, posture back to professional and business like. "What does this mean for Mike? Apart from the emotional trauma... legally I mean. Does he need legal advice?"
Harvey shrugs, glad for the change of direction.
"I don't know yet," Harvey confesses. "From what Mike's grandmother has told us there's no actual evidence he's done anything illegal apart from run off from a car accident that was legally deemed an accident. We don't even know if he's committed fraud."
A sudden knock at the door makes both of them jump. Louis flounces in soon after looking every inch of a creep.
"Jessica, I have some of the preliminary papers for Crane completed that Ross was supposed to have done," Louis announces, preening himself as though Harvey wasn't there. Louis places the papers neatly on Jessica's desk and then turns to give Harvey a glancing pointed look before morphing into a mock look of surprise. "Oh. Harvey, didn't see you there. You're back from your associate's breakdown I see."
Harvey grimaces on the couch, hands dropping from his lap to clench the sides of the couch either side of his legs. He can feel a growl forming in his throat.
"Louis..." Jessica starts in warning.
"What?" Louis asks with a face of innocence. He looks back and forth between the two of them, blinking stupidly before his face splits into a moronic grin. "Don't tell me that Harvey Specter is actually starting to care about someone else?"
"I don't know about that, Louis. I've always been pretty generous in bed. Especially with your wife."
He smirks at the sudden bristlesness to brush Louis face.
"That would actually be funny if-"
"Boys," Jessica snaps at them and they turn their head in unison. "So not the time."
"Okaaay," Louis says, backing up slightly trying to make a not so discreet retreat. "Room filled with mysterious and intense tension and in light of what occurred this morning this can only suggest something serious has happened."
This time both Jessica's and Harvey's head turn and look at him in annoyance.
"Aaaaand clearly I have interrupted something," Louis continues, looking like a rabbit caught in headlights. "I'll just go, shall I?"
"Louis!" Jessica snaps again. She points towards the chairs. "Sit!"
"Okay," he says quickly, finding purchase at the nearest available seat and sitting immediately. He ends up sandwiched into a solo armchair, slightly too small for his frame, looking stiff and uncomfortable. "Sitting."
"Seriously?" Harvey asks, turning a bewildered gaze back to Jessica. "You're involving him?"
"Hey," Louis interjects with a scoff. "Should I be offended?"
"Harvey..." Jessica admonishes before looking at Louis. "Mike's dead father turned up this morning."
"Oh," Louis says as though he's suddenly clued in. He raises his hand nervously. "I take it you mean he's not actually a zombie."
"No, Louis. He's not a zombie," Harvey mutters, rolling his eyes.
"Mike's supposedly dead father turned up. Alive and well," Jessica clarifies.
"Well that explains the hysteria."
Harvey ignores Louis in favor of driving home his earlier point.
"I don't even know if he needs legal representation. But If he does then I'll do it pro bono."
He hears Louis snort loudly, from his seat, which is cut off abruptly when Jessica levels a steady glare at him.
"No, Harvey," Jessica warns him, turning the steady glare on him, features softening slightly as she spoke. "You're too involved. I know what I said earlier but this is different this time."
Harvey looks at her with a glare of her own, anger flushing his face.
"Yeah, tell me you're not when the feeling to kill this guy goes away. Okay?" Jessica declares smugly, tilting her head.
He starts to open his mouth to argue but then stops and shrugs his acceptance. He still couldn't get over the fact that Mike's father had left his kid trapped in a car with his dead mother.
"I'll do it," Louis announces from his perch.
Harvey turns and studies the man.
"You don't even like the kid," Harvey exclaims in disbelief.
"I... that's not..." Louis starts in defence before he too shrugs. "I'm not completely heartless though. And I do oversee the associates. Which includes their welfare..."
"If you're so concerned with their welfare you wont ever traumatise their fragile psych with that pony speech," Harvey points out with a mock shudder.
"That pony speech is a valuable metaphor," Louis argues.
"It's creepy, is what it is."
"Louis," Jessica interrupts them with a sigh. "First of all Harvey's right; the pony speech is creepy. Secondly, thank you for offering your services. At the moment we don't know if it's needed. You'll be informed in due time. You're dismissed."
"Okay," Louis nods, looking a bit glum before making a quick exit.
Harvey watches with a triumphant grin.
"Harvey," Jessica tuts at him with a smirk before pointing to the door. "You can go too."
Harvey salutes her before stepping up and heading to the door.
"Harvey," Jessica's voice stops him at the door. "I know you'll figure it out. You'll be whatever the kids needs you to be."
Harvey finds Mike exactly where he left him; curled up on his couch in a deep sleep. Donna had already left, her god-daughter's dance recital was this evening, but not before seemingly mothering the kid to death.
There's evidence of a blanket (heaven knows where she got it from), that had at one time been over him, now pooling off his legs.
"Hey, kid-" Harvey reluctantly tells him, picking the blanket up and folding it over the back of the couch. "Time to go."
Mike doesn't respond.
"Mike, c'mon kid," Harvey tries again, jostling him gently by the arm.
"Hmm," Mike grumbles back and buries his face further into the cushion Donna has obviously pushed under his head.
"Are you awake?"
"No," Mike gristles at him, burrowing himself further down into the couch.
"Strange," Harvey comments with a grin. "I could have sworn you answered. C'mon kid, get up."
"Comfortable here," Mike huffily complains when Harvey jostles him once more. "Don't want to go. Just... leave me here. That way I'll be here when you you get in tomorrow."
"Yeah... not going to happen," Harvey says, rolling his eyes impatiently. When it was clear Mike was not going to move, Harvey nudges him with his knee. "I'm not making you go home."
"You're not?" Mike asks, moving his head so that one eye peered out from above the cushion.
"No. You're coming back to mine where I can feed you a proper meal, then you're going to have a full nights sleep," Harvey raises an eye when Mike starts to argue, body raising slightly, and only dropping it when the kid sags back in defeat. "And then we'll find some time tomorrow to see what damage your puny body did to your apartment."
"Not puny," Mike huffs out, allowing Harvey to pull him from the couch. "Just lean."
"Right," Harvey scoffs with a smirk. "Which is why Donna left me strict instructions to feed you the best ever meal you're ever going to have."
Harvey gathers the rest of his stuff up (much easier due to the fact that Mike turned up sans jacket and bag) while his associate blearily wipes the sleep from his eyes.
"You don't have to do this, you know?" Mike suddenly tells him when Harvey holds the door open for him.
"I know," Harvey replies with a small smile. "But I want to."
A huge pleased grin suddenly erupts on the kid's face and he obediently passes Harvey.
And if that huge pleased grin caused Harvey's own small one to widen with warmth? Well, who was to tell?
Mike ends up avoiding Harvey for the next couple of days. Every time Harvey passes by the associate bull-pen Mike immerses himself into the paperwork he suddenly seems buried in. Harvey takes pity on him and throws another few files for him to bury himself in further, frowning when the kid barely even flinches. He watches as the younger man neatly arranges them on top of Louis outstanding files.
Harvey pats him on the shoulder as he steps away.
"Good boy," he says with a smirk.
When he glances back he sees Mike gulping convulsively and staring at his barely touched shoulder. Harvey's not mistaken when he realises his eyes are glistening and there's a ghost of a relieved smile on his face.
Mike looks up then and blinks, realising Harvey's caught him in a vulnerable moment, so the kid just blinks at him a bit more, grins awkwardly and waves the newly acquired file at him before turning away and twirling a highlighter through his fingers.
Harvey nods and walks back to his office with a heavy heart.
It's actually later that day that something changes.
He doesn't have to look up to know that Mike's slithered into the room. Harvey knows by the lack of exuberant entry and the heavy sigh that fills the room that this wasn't a usual work catch-up.
Harvey looks up and sees Mike standing uncomfortably with a file clutched in his hand.
"You got something for me?" He asks, eyebrow raised.
Mike shuffles a bit more, fidgeting where he stands.
"The file?" Harvey asks, when it's clear Mike's lost all function.
"Huh?" Mike elegantly asks, suddenly coming alive. Harvey nods at the file in his hand and reaches a hand out. "Oh. Right. Yeah... that-"
He steps forward and hands it to him, eyes darting around the table nervously.
"Okay. What's wrong?" Harvey asks, folding his arms against his chest.
"What? Nothing," Mike answers too quickly.
Harvey raises both eyebrows and tilts his head quizzically.
Mike closes his eyes briefly and when he opens them they're full of pain and confusion. He shrugs a little and shakes his head before stuffing his hands into the pockets of his pants.
Harvey watches as he goes over to the window and stares out of it, head nearly touching the glass window that separated him from the outside. Harvey nervously watches from his desk, certain that if the window hadn't been there he'd be watching his associate tumble out.
Another sigh fills the room.
"I've been thinking about him," Mike admits softly.
Mike shakes his head again and Harvey can see how tense he is. A frustrated growl sticks in the kid's throat.
"I keep thinking about him. I can't do anything else."
Harvey nods although with Mike's back to him he can't see the gesture. He glances at the freshly proofed file sitting on his desk and knows that the pile on Mike's own desk would already be half powered through. It doesn't surprise him that Mike would deal with a personal pressure by replacing it with another kind.
"I'd be worried if you weren't thinking about him," Harvey comments quietly and then sighs. "It's okay to-"
"Should I call him?" Mike interrupts abruptly.
"That's not my call," Harvey reminds him.
"But if it was-" Mike asks quietly again.
"But it's not."
"Hypothetically, Harvey!" Mike suddenly snaps, whirling from the window, turning anguished eyes on him. "If you were here right now, if this was happening to you, would you have called?"
Harvey stares at Mike for a few seconds before he found himself nodding.
"I'd want answers," Harvey admits quietly.
Mike shakes his head and then laughs bitterly and Harvey immediately regrets saying anything at all.
"That doesn't mean you sh..." he starts to say before Mike cuts him off.
"I should call him," Mike says, voice hushed in a mixture of honesty and bewilderment. "I need to hear it from him. Why he left me. Why he never came back to get me. Where he's been all this time."
"Okay," Harvey says, smiling reassuringly at him. He looks away only to unlock his draw and retrieve the paper with Mike's father's number on it. When he looks back up Mike is trembling and pale.
Mike shakes his head and actually steps back, edging away from him.
"I thought this is what you wanted?"
"It is," Mike breathes. He wraps his arms around his body and practically folds in on himself imploring him with a soft and watery voice. "Will you call him?"
"I already told you that it's not my-"
"Please," Mike asks quietly, voice shaky and pleading. "I do want answers but I can't speak to him. Not today. Can you do it for me, Harvey," He pauses and Harvey can hear the way he sucks in the shaky breath and licks the trembling lips. "I just need some time to mentally prepare."
Harvey nods and indicates for the kid to sit while he calls. Mike sits like an obedient puppy and watches him with grateful eyes, blushing.
By the time the call was finished, Harvey was sat next to Mike with a father-son date fully planned.
"Thanks," Mike says.
"It's all set for tomorrow lunch time," Harvey tells him, pocketing his phone back in his pocket. "You can use my office."
He'd chosen the office because he had thought that it might be one of the few places he'd feel safest and most comfortable.
"I'll order in some lunch for you."
Mike nods numbly next to him.
"Can you stay?" he asks in the same shaky voice from before as though he had only just realised he might be on his own.
"Mike," Harvey sighs. "I don't think that's appropriate."
"I don't think I can do this alone, Harvey. I need you... someone -" he corrects with another blush. "Please..."
There he was again – pleading – and Harvey nods reassuringly. It actually gave him a reason to eyeball the guy and see if he was genuine.
"Sure thing, kid," Harvey tells him.
"Thanks," Mike breathes out slowly. He wipes a trembling hand down his face.
"You can make it up to me by being the best associate I've ever had."
Mike turns a bemused face towards him, dropping the hand.
"I'm the only associate you've ever had," Mike says in mock hurt, recognising Harvey's attempt to make him feel more normal by resorting to their typical banter. "Besides I've already covered that. I'm already awesome," he lets the word fall out of him in a singy, drawn out way.
"Really?" Harvey asks in disbelief. "And yet you haven't mastered the ability to gloat."
Mike grins again before giving Harvey a nudge to his shoulder.
"Seriously, Harvey. I mean it. Thanks."
Harvey rolls his eyes and nudges the kid back with his own shoulder.
"Any time, kid. Any time."
He forgoes the intercom to talk Donna directly.
"Donna? I need you-"
"Done and done," she tells him with a flair of the hand, "Because unlike the pup I actually am awesome."
Harvey raises his eyebrows and quirks a grin at her.
"Your lunch meeting for tomorrow is re-arranged for next Tuesday," she tells him after a quick glance at the schedule planner opened in front of her. "And your 2:00 is pushed back to 3:00."
"Where would I be without you?" Harvey told her with a grin.
"Living a miserable and dark life with an inferior assistant whose sole purpose is to destroy you?" Donna asks and then raises her hand in mock shock. "Oh, wait. That's Louis. And not completely accurate. Norma's very competent."
"At destroying Louis?"
Donna shrugs and grins, "Only time will tell."
Harvey shakes his head and glances up to see Louis scurrying past Norma who appeared to be chasing him down with an irate face and waving a file frantically after him. Harvey shakes his head again and heads back through the office door.
"You're being really good with him, you know," he hears Donna say from her desk. "It's nice seeing this side of you. Different but nice."
Harvey knows that she's teasing him, but with everything that Donna does, there's also a hidden meaning because as teasing as it is, it's also the truth. He knows if he looks back all traces of jest will be gone.
"You really care about him, huh?"
He knows now that he does. In fact he probably knew that when he stepped back into Jessica's office after taking Mike to see his grandmother and winced at the similarities between the conversations that had occurred.
"Somebody has to be."